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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old July 23rd, 2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

Hello everyone, I am a newbie to DSLRs, but I come from the world of TV news after 17 years there, I am now working in Video Production here in Denver. I have bought a Canon T3i which I really love so far and a Beachtek (the one that does Phantom power) to run my audio through and I just got Magic Lantern on it (trouble with wrong Canon Firmware).
I am now pondering if I should get a rig or not and if so what rig should I get? I don't want to drop thousands but I don't want to be too cheap and get junk either. I mostly want something I can rest on my shoulder for long days of handheld shooting. I use an Sony EX-3 also right now and that kills me after the first few hours of shooting because of it's lousy ergonomics. I used that camera in News the last 5 years and always kept on the tripod for that reason (short handheld shooting of course) but I am finding that now depending on what the client wants I can find myself spending hours shooting handheld and that is why I think I will want a proper rig.
So far my two favorite choices are the Proaim system and the Cam-caddie/scorpion. The Cam-caddie does not seem to have an over the shoulder mount, just an add on brace clip type that seems to preclude using the tripod. I like the Scorpion's handle a lot and that is what appeals to me, also the cheese mount looks like I could mount the Beachtek behind the camera so they are not stacked. I am leaning towards the Proaim though because it has the real over the shoulder pad (would have to put a weight on the back though) and I like the cage that allows you to mount things like my shotgun, wireless and maybe the Beachtek. It is probably going to run about $300 for that but might be worth it, versus the Cam-caddie at $100-150.
All that said any others that you guys would recommend? Like I said I want over the shoulder pad, easy on and off tripod, a top handle and ability to mount accessory stuff. In other words make it like my old Betacam but lighter.
Thanks for the advice! Everett
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 10:22 AM   #2
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

I have heard only great things about these guys. They have some unusual shoulder rig designs that look very ergonomic:

https://www.edelkrone.com/
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 11:19 AM   #3
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

It seems that you have the bases covered in your criteria; mostly, that rigs don't balance like a broadcast camera does on the shoulder.

I've not shopped among these rigs, but wanted to make sure that you're aware of the need for offset. Any rig designed for hours of use has to put the camera in front of your eye, not in-line with your shoulder. This is particularly true, even for minutes of use, when you're using a magnifying hood/loupe.

A Hoodman Cinema Pro Kit is absolutely my favorite dSLR accessory. Suddenly I can read those extremely small Magic Lantern on-screen displays. Love the spot meter, but I also found the WVF difficult to read before using the loupe.

The other issue is that a broadcast camera with servo zoom gives you record/stop and zoom under your right hand, while it can also easily support the cam on your shoulder, leaving your left hand free for any adjustments or fending off admirers. That's quite a bit harder on a dSLR, no servos of course, but there are some record/stop and focus controls on the market. Okii makes one, and something from Manfrotto has been shown but I don't know if it is shipping yet.

All this is probably greek to the still photog getting into video, but for the broadcast camera user, these things are really expected in any professional camera...

Edit: Wow. Edelkrone. That is one well-thought-out system. The intro video is 40+ minutes, I was enthralled.
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Last edited by Seth Bloombaum; July 23rd, 2012 at 12:21 PM.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

Everett: I, too, came from the ENG trenches (we've probably seen each other at story scenes), and I had an EX3 for two years afterward. I had a brace that made the unit balance better because the V-mount battery sat on the back of it.

About a year and a half ago I got rid of all my video gear and bought a 60D and a 5D Mk ll (now using a 5D Mk lll). I love the images you get out of these cameras. But I don't do ENG anymore. Anyway, I rented two different shoulder rigs to see which I'd like to buy, and I wound up not buying either. I just don't like the feel of DSLRs on a shoulder rig. So I bought a monopod and a fluid head and I use that. If you've got a lens with a stabilizer built in, you get incredibly steady shots. If there is any movement afterward, FCP easily removes it. I oftentimes don't, because the slight movement that sometimes remains seems to mimic eye movement, and I've come to like the look.

Anything that needs to be rock solid out of the camera goes on my Sachtler FSB8.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #5
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

I totally agree with Charles. The ergonomics are all wrong if you try & turn a DSLR into a should mount broadcast camera. Take advantage of the plus points of the DSLR. It's lightweight, easy to move around, you aren't encumbered with a load of junk. Use a monopod & a loupe. Rigs & matte boxes & follow-focus with DSLRs are just to allow wannabee filmakers to kid themselves that they are using a Red or an Alexa instead of a $700 consumer camera.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

Hi Everett,

Here is a review I did on three different DSLR shoulder rigs. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

Thanks for all the advice guys, interesting insights. I think that Charles might be right that there are pros and cons to rigs and so far I have had good results shooting handheld with the T3i but it was minutes not hours. By the way Charles where did you work? I left KDVR back in Feb, KWGN before that, KCNC, WBFF and WNYT before that.

Maybe I will shoot for a while without it and see how it goes. I have been thinking about those hood man type eyepieces and I will probably get one, especially for shooting in bright sun, but I also like being able to turn the LCD when I am shooting low. I had a sun hood shade on the LCD of a P2 camera I used for a while that slid on and off and that seemed to work well. Also I should mention that I bought a fluid head tripod that works well and gives me very smooth movement so I got that covered.

Thanks again everybody for the advice. Everett
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Old July 25th, 2012, 08:51 PM   #8
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

Hi, Everett: I did some freelance work for KDVR, but none in the last 4 years. Mostly in the Denver Market I shot for KUSA, some for KCNC. In the Springs I shot for KRDO and KKTV. And I've done some freelance stuff for CNN. But, thank God, I don't do news anymore.

I forgot to mention: I used the Hoodman Cine Crane (flip-away hood) with my MK lll. They have a slip-on for the 60D and other Canons with the articulating screen. Makes all the world of difference when focusing in daylight.

If you get up to the mountains and you want to shoot in some pretty places, I'll show you some.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

I'm putting together a rig for a D800 right now. Here are my thoughts: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800 or D800E (Part 1) | wolfcrow

Maybe it will help.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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Re: DSLR newbie: what Rig should I buy?

One very inexpensive but potentially usable choice is this one:

Home Page

Looks like it's priced at $80 including shipping (US), I have an older version (their SpiderBrace 2 Combo) from before the redesign for DSLR. Not for hanging a bunch of "stuff" on it, but for lightweight won't wear you down very effective stabilizing handheld, it works well.

I currently use a GH2 on it and talk about a "featherweight" rig...
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